This happened that the scripture might be fulfilled
I am a worm and not a man – Psalm 22:6
John does not emphasise the gruesome brutality and level of suffering Jesus experienced. It is recorded in sparse detail with little description. However, to all contemporary readers the horror of a Roman crucifixion will have been a graphic reality. The public humiliation was emphasized by the closeness to the city of the crucifixion site. ‘Many of the Jews read this sign, for the place where Jesus was crucified was near to the city, and the sign was written in Aramaic, Latin and Greek.’ Pilate, even though he did not understand the true ramifications of his judgement and actions understood that in a unique sense Jesus was “King of the Jews” and he wanted it known. He also was well aware of Jesus’ innocence even though he succumbed to pressure from the Temple hierarchy. For John though it was the bare facts and how they fulfilled Jesus’ own intentional path that was important, summed up in Jesus’ own words, It is finished.’ v30 Psalm 22:18 is quoted as being fulfilled (v24) when the soldiers share out Jesus’ clothes by throwing lots. Psalm 22, written by David in the middle of great peril and trial, perhaps when fleeing from his son Absalom, is given fresh meaning in the New Testament as also applying to the suffering of Jesus with uncanny accuracy.
‘But I am a worm and not a man, scorned by everyone, despised by the people. All who see me mock me; they hurl insults, shaking their heads. He trusts in the Lord, they say, let the Lord rescue him. Let him deliver him, since he delights in him. Ps 22:6-8
Do not be far from me, for trouble is near and there is no one to help. Many bulls surround me; strong bulls of Bashan encircle me. Roaring lions that tear their prey open their mouths wide against me. I am poured out like water, and all my bones are out of joint. My heart has turned to wax; it has melted within me. My mouthis dried up like a potsherd, and my tongue sticks to the roof of my mouth; you lay me in the dust of death.Dogs surround me, a pack of villains encircles me; they pierce my hands and my feet. All my bones are on display; people stare and gloat over me. They divide my clothes among them and cast lots for my garment. Ps 22:11-18